7-7 nurse progress notes template
Last July, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Casework (CMS) proposed new E/M guidelines for appointment visits with physicians. It issued the final guidelines on November 1, with a few tweaks. Implementation was delayed until 2021 (from 2019), possibly due to cutting activity from physicians.
The acceptable news: the bureau acknowledges that fee-for-service is still an important affection of physician reimbursement. The bad news: the changes would accomplish appointment visits alike beneath adorable for clinicians, evidently blame practices from abhorred “volume” to able “value,” and ultimately to capitation.
The CMS Proposal
The new E/M guidelines would collapse payments for appointment appointment codes 99212-99214 (established patients) to a distinct bulk — civic boilerplate about $93 — about center amid the old 99213 ($74) and 99214 ($109) codes. The plan would be agnate for new patients, 99202-99204. Physicians would accept a new collapsed rate, $135, amid the old 99203 amount ($110) and the old 99204 amount ($167). Agreement for Akin 5 visits would abide the same. Some subspecialists, such as cardiology endocrinology, rheumatology, and hematology/oncology, would accept a baby add-on: $14. Certain as-yet-unspecified primary affliction casework would admittance a $5 add-on. (The bureau is still alive out addition class of reimbursement, which is based on time.)
The Acceptable News
It is acceptable that CMS affairs to annihilate the counting up of “elements” (symptoms, history, analysis of systems, concrete exam) anon all-important to accomplish a college code. Affidavit could be cut to that bare for a akin 99212 visit: arch complaint, problem-focused history, problem-focused exam, and decision-making. CMS says this will abate paperwork; the bureau affected that we would save 1.6 account per visit, or 51.2 hours per year for a doctor who sees eight patients a day. (Who does that?) Needless to say, such a “reduction” is trivial, abnormally accustomed cyberbanking bloom annal with carry-forward or automated populating.
Nevertheless, it is accurate that the history and concrete arrangement for ambulant accommodating visits that we all abstruse in medical academy is obsolete: it is based on appointment for a single, astute problem, with affection and concrete allegation — the anesthetic of the 1950s. Today, patients still accept casual astute problems. But as added patients survive assorted altitude that acclimated to annihilate them bound — like HIV, affection disease, and blight — their diseases morph from astute to chronic.
When these patients arise for a accepted visit, they generally arise stable, with no new affection or concrete findings. However, there is still assignment to do: analysis the contempo analysis results, which may crave changes in care; apprehend new allegation of consultants, which may additionally affect management; attending for behavioral bloom changes. Best important, what does the accommodating think: is he still acceptable with accepted analysis or accepting problems? Does he accept new concerns? Shared decision-making, a antecedence today, takes time. Little of this assignment is reflected in the old ambulant template.
So abundant for the acceptable news.
The bad account is absolutely bad. The alone way a physician can accomplish a active with a almost low, anchored acquittal for best appointment visits is to see added patients. This focuses the analyst on patients with minor, self-limited problems or one or two aboveboard abiding altitude like hypertension or hyperlipidemia. Why? Because to see added patients, visits charge be shorter. Aggravating to blitz visits for complicated, ailing patients risks overlooking article important which ability abuse the accommodating or accomplish a abuse claim.
So, ironically, this E/M change will acceptable advance to an added aggregate of low-value visits — absolutely what CMS is aggravating to eliminate. This afflictive anticipation additionally will acceptable access the flight of new physicians to specialties with procedures, which are added lucrative.
Most important, the new arrangement will accomplish it difficult to affliction for the circuitous accommodating with assorted problems — congestive affection abortion with renal insufficiency, blight with affection disease, or any aggregate of diseases with cerebral impairment, anxiety, or above depression. These are the patients that crave the 7 years or added of accelerated medical training that alone physicians have, as able-bodied as abounding visits, consultations, sometimes tests and imaging, and abundant time. Ninety-three dollars, alike $107 per visit, artlessly will not cut it. (The apology of a college acquittal for 99215 in the final aphorism is an attack to accord with this.)
Moreover, the key to acknowledged analysis of austere problems today is a solid physician-patient relationship. Patients appetite a provider who cares about them and will not blitz through a visit, attached it to one botheration area there are many. The best way to authorize a acceptable accord is contiguous visits, abnormally at the outset.
Finally, in today’s burst system, alternation of affliction is additionally critical.
But it seems CMS is alive from a altered model. CMS appears to accept that the key to able affliction is a team, directed by a doctor — or not — assuming the best admired casework as bent by admiral with MBAs application bogus intelligence to advance algorithms for care. The administration evaluates how the aggregation is assuming (including its “productivity”), and distributes bonuses and penalties accordingly. The alignment ultimately carrying all the accommodating affliction would be paid by capitation.
IBM trotted out Watson (the computer that abstruse to exhausted Gary Kasparov at chess) to adviser blight treatment. The activity did not go well: barter articular “multiple examples of alarming and incorrect analysis recommendations” (subscription required).
The CMS archetypal additionally does not arise actual patient-centered, claims to the adverse notwithstanding.
A Better Direction
CMS is appropriate to amend the physician visit, although the bureau makes the amiss accommodation (i.e., to de-emphasize it). Instead, it should use the appointment codes to focus physicians on the best complicated patients. CMS should pay a physician added to see a sicker accommodating with assorted abiding illnesses, and beneath to see a advantageous one with a balmy complaint. So, for example, Medicare could pay X for a accommodating with one aboveboard accepted complaint, again 2X for three abiding conditions, 5X for 10 abiding conditions, as able-bodied as add-ons for things like an astute complaint superimposed on the abiding ones, a cogent deterioration, cerebral impairment, or aboveboard dementia.
Obviously a absolute calibration would be added complicated, but you get the idea. There could be any cardinal of levels, apparently added than five. Physicians are the alone providers that are accomplished to handle assorted circuitous altitude in one patient, although midlevels like assistant practitioners or alike medical administration could accomplish accepted tasks for such patients beneath physician supervision. Circuitous patients crave added time and added work, and added coordination, so accommodating panels will charge to be abundant smaller.
In fact, CMS makes such accident adjustments already to the capitation ante it pays to Medicare Advantage sponsors, in adjustment to accommodate sponsors acceptable funds to affliction for anniversary accommodating (efficiently). The CMS arrangement is alleged Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCC). It should not be difficult to set up a agnate arrangement for E/M reimbursement.
A Agenda About Appointment Notes
In medicine, appointment notes, inpatient or outpatient, are commonly acclimated for billing: a physician abstracts the assignment for which he claims reimbursement. CMS has absitively that the archetypal appointment arrangement is no best advantageous for billing, so the bureau shrinks it to a minimum. That’s fine.
However, our medical arrangement today is far added burst than it already was. Few bodies are followed by the aforementioned doctor for decades; instead, a accommodating passes through abounding offices, aggregation members, and specialties over the advance of his or her life. Moreover, we can no best await on patients for abundant histories. Poor communication, or absent communication, is now a above antecedent of medical errors.
Communication should be the arch point of the advance agenda today. What would you appetite to apperceive about a new accommodating afore you took a cogent action? That is what should be in the agenda — the best important advice for the abutting provider in the chain. Cyberbanking records, advised for announcement and workforce supervision, should be reinvented to advance communication, and be interoperable.
Such coding, reimbursement, and affidavit reforms would booty us in the appropriate direction.
Caroline Poplin, MD, JD, is an advocate and internist in Bethesda, Maryland. She is a above agents internist for the Civic Naval Medical Center, and currently practices anesthetic part-time at the Arlington Free Clinic in Virginia. She additionally consults for law firms on Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
last adapted 11.05.2018